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Heart infections in 15 patients linked to same dentist

Proper dental care is crucial for your health. Your mouth is full of bacteria that occur naturally. In very rare cases, it is possible that the bacteria in your mouth will invade your bloodstream. That can lead to serious issues, and that is what seems to have happened to 15 oral surgery patients of a nearby state.

The patients all visited the same dentist for oral surgery that involved intravenous sedation. Each patient, including one who died, was diagnosed with endocarditis. This infection is one that affects the heart. It is caused when bacteria invades the heart after spreading there from other places in the body through the bloodstream.

Of the 15 patients, who were 16 to 77 years old, three had pre-existing heart conditions and eight had murmurs. None of them were considered to have had high-risk conditions.

The dental office where this dentist practices has been investigated by the State Board of Dentistry. Several issues were noted, but the dentist continues to be able to practice. One specific issue that was noted was the use of unsterilized IVs that were used in the sedation procedure before the operation.

Authorities also noted improper hand hygiene practices, non-sterile tools and storage issues. The dentist has since signed an agreement that he will use best practices in sanitation. He is still being allowed to practice despite the 15 illnesses and one death that have been linked to his clinic.

People who are affected by dental malpractice have the right to seek compensation for the damages they have suffered. This can involve everything from missed work wages to medical bills.

Source: Fox News, "Investigators link 15 heart infections with New Jersey dentist," Aug. 16, 2016

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